HITS Daily Double


Interview by Michelle Santosuosso

This time last year you had just released the Free 6lack album; did you think when that dropped you would be here a year later, a multiple Grammy nominee?
Truthfully, no. We made the project with a goal as far as who we wanted to reach and what we wanted to accomplish musically, but just joking around in the studio and talking about future things it was always like, “well, we’ll be there [at the Grammys] in a couple of years, but let’s just focus on what’s important in the music.” And surprisingly enough, when you do what the task is and don’t really worry about awards or recognition, things just sort 
of fall in your lap, I guess.

You’ve teamed up with LVRN (Love Renaissance) who are from my perspective an amazing collective—super-young, knowledgeable and eternally hip. How did they help you grow and evolve as an artist?
I was at the tail end of the last deal I was in before I signed to Interscope when I met up with them. For the most part, [they understood] that I needed people who would listen to my ideas and not try to present their own. Plus studying the state of music and what everyone is listening to and the culture of everything, then forming ideas and opinions based on that. We don’t just make music for ourselves to listen to; we make music for everybody to enjoy.

And you really talk about relationships on this record. Your music has been described as “moody hip-hop,” and dives into different emotional situations, but how would you describe it?
With love being the center focus of it all, that puts it on the good and the bad side of it. I think we’re either in a place where people don’t [want to talk about it] or they shy away from talking about it or they talk about it in a way where they’re very general. I just felt like for a second there was a window for someone to dig a little bit deeper into relationships and connect with fans, and that’s exactly what we did.

Which artists, current or classic, inspire you personally?It really ranges. I could go from Michael [Jackson], Prince, Sade, Andre 3000 and Erykah [Badu] all the way to the new Young Thug; it really is all over the place. I listen to a lot of music and it’s never really confined to one sound or one timeframe. While I’m in the process of recording, I’m listening to a hundred different things—and they all really inspire me.

And you have a truly original, creative and very distinctive sound; that’s not easy to accomplish. I don’t think a lot of people realize originality takes work.
It definitely does, and you only figure that out through trial and error or through writing and recording your life away. I wouldn’t say I always had it figured out, but in order to figure it out at all I had to record hundreds of songs that I probably wouldn’t want to hear today—but that’s the process, and the only way I would ever get to this sound is if I work through whatever I had to go through in the process.

You talked about how you always saw the Grammys as a down-the-line scenario; now that you’re a nominee, what do the awards represent or mean to you?
It’s always half-and-half, because I don’t necessarily work for recognition; I work because I love to work. But at the end of the day, I think everyone loves something shiny to show for it, and that’s as simply as I can put it. We’re obviously not here just to make music for a trophy that goes in our basement—we want people to love it and we want it to be championed and accepted by more than just ourselves. That’s exactly what the Grammys and most awards shows do.

What are your plans moving forward, and what’s up next for you?
Well since Free 6lack has been done, I’ve recorded a ton of music, and right now it’s been a couple days—maybe a couple weeks—with my daughter, and then I’m back in L.A. recording. Then January-February, or who knows how long it could take, but the goal is obviously to finish and deliver another album.

Will we get a new 6LACK album in 2018?
Most definitely, as soon as possible.